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Take a Hard Ride DVD review

From The Spaghetti Western Database

Takeahardride.jpg

DVD by Anchor Bay (USA). Widescreen presentation (1.85:1) with original English audio (mono).

The Movie

Pyke (Jim Brown) promises his former boss and partner to bring home money to the family farm to pay everyone, the deserved payoff after a long hard year of work. He intends to keep his word. But quickly, all kinds of people learn about the large sum of money he's carrying around with him and suddenly, not only bounty hunters and day laborers are on his tail, but also mexican bandits, murderers and other mischievous badmen. But he gets company. The gambler Tyree (Fred Williamson), a mute halfbreed (Jim Kelly) and a widow form his posse, that is now being hunted by bounty hunter Kiefer (Lee van Cleef) and his army of hired guns.

You hire a known spaghetti western director, you hire a known hollywood composer, throw in three famous blaxploitation stars and wrap it around a straight-forward hunting ploit. Take a Hard Ride is just that. Far removed from the look and feel of a real spaghetti western, this semi-hollywoodized western is a lot of fun to watch, well made, full of snappy Van Cleef one-liners and a few nice gunfights. But it's not gritty, it's not stylish. The music is great, but it feels more like Silverado. The cinematography is not bad, but it's not Leone. The acting is okay, but it feels more like Shaft than a western. There's some good action and gunfights but the film is family-proof. The bottom line? A very entertaining western worth watching, but not what you would expect from a spaghetti western.

The DVD

Anchor Bay, after having delivered some really great Spaghetti Western work a few years ago, kinda gets back on the track with this DVD. But they've done better in the past. The picture is bright and colorful and free of real damage, but it is a bit grainy and there are a few passages where the quality drops a little. All in all, I expected a clearer picture from a company of that caliber. Things look worse in the sound department. The quality varies, and audibly so. Over most stretches the audio sounds pretty good, but there are enough moments where it suddenly sounds a little dull, noisy and so forth. It's not so much that those few bits really sound that horrible, but the changes are really audible. All in all, this sounds really too pessimistic. Considering the low profile release of this, the quality really is okay. Aside from the trailer there are no extras.

The Verdict

The film is entertaining, but not very Spaghetti. The DVD has really good quality, but suffers from a little grainy picture and some fluctuations in the audio. They put in a lot of effort to make a fun western, but on the way to their goal lost most Spaghetti aspects. Well that's not too bad, the result is 100 minutes of decent entertainment. Anchor Bay should've put a bit more work in there, I think. I'm sure there would've been some extra material on this film. Overall a decent release, maybe not a must have.

--Sebastian 02:14, 25 May 2007 (CEST)

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